Over the next few weeks, we are going to try a new series of blogs called “Teaching Tuesday.” Our plan is to test it out for a while, and if it seems to be going well we will make it a part of our regular blog series. I (Matt) served in different pastoral capacities within the local church for over 15 years prior to moving to Haiti, and I have missed having different opportunities to teach the Bible and to share what GOD has taught me, especially in english. We are still in the very early stages of praying through and planning to start a discipleship program down here in Haiti and when that gets off the ground, we will also use this blog series to talk about how that ministry is progressing. However, for now, I am hoping to use this new blog series to share our heart for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it will continue to affect our ministry moving forward.
I have been reading through the book of Romans lately in my personal time with GOD and I have also been rereading some of the books that Jim Cymbala (Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle) wrote quite a few years ago. It has been interesting reading through that book while reading through the book of Romans, and I plan on sharing some from both of those experiences in the next few weeks. I want to keep today short after the somewhat longer introduction, so I will just talk about the book Fresh Faith that I am almost finished reading. One of my favorite things about reading through this series of books is that Jim Cymbala clearly writes and thinks in a completely different way than I do. Have you ever noticed how most of our favorite books, pastors, and teachers are people who are able to put into words the exact same things that we already think. Maybe it’s just me, but some of my favorite nonfiction books are nothing more than people who are able to deftly explain truths and facts that I already agree with and/or know. This series of books are completely different. It’s not that I don’t agree with the things he writes, he just views the world and his faith in a much different way than I do and it is quite interesting.
In this book, Fresh Faith, one of the greatest things I have learned is that I wish my faith were bigger. I have this tendency to overthink things before acting (not before speaking, but before acting) and wanting to know and plan every aspect of what is going on rather than stepping out in faith. I can sometimes struggle to just say “yes” to GOD without making sure I know what is happening next. Of course, living in Haiti has helped me with this to an extent. Then, in the midst of reading this book and having this revelation, I was also reading Romans 4 about how Abraham believed and his faith was credited to him as righteousness. I was reading a book called Fresh Faith and then I read about a man who knew GOD was calling him and he just went. To him, one thing mattered, he heard the voice of GOD, he believed it was the voice of GOD, and his faith turned into immediate action. I understand that it is equally easy for people to just step out in a “false faith” without taking the time to make sure it is GOD who is calling, but that is not my tendency. My tendency is to wait, plan, wait a little more, plan some more, and then finally (oftentimes based on my own strength and planning rather than GOD’s) act if I am absolutely sure that GOD is calling and that I have a plan to make it happen. That is not faith.
With that said, my prayer now is that I will be willing to believe it is GOD speaking and to act on that faith in whatever way GOD is calling. I want to fight against my tendency to do only things I know I can do and begin to walk in that area of things that I know I cannot do without the power of GOD. Whatever your tendency is, pray with me that GOD gives us the faith to rely on Him and Him alone.